Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you needed to get rid of something, but had no idea whether or not you could just throw it in the trash?
Things like throwing away electronics or household chemicals can be really confusing sometimes, and more often than not those things end up in the basement or a closet somewhere.
It’s always best to dispose of those things quickly and properly, though, and we’re here to help you determine what to do with those items. This article will explore some common items that take a little extra care to dispose of.
Common Household Items
We’ll start out with some items that typically go into the trash when they’re not supposed to. While it may seem like an inconvenience to dispose of these items properly, the task is made a lot easier if you round them all up and take them to drop off locations in one trip.
First off, we have light bulbs. Light bulbs are often thrown in the trash or the recycling, but they shouldn’t be put in either. Many bulbs contain toxic chemicals, and just because they’re made of mostly glass doesn’t mean they’re safe to throw away.
Your town has a special drop-off location for light bulbs, and we highly recommend that you take advantage of this fact.
Buying cleaning supplies and similar products is a necessary step for any homeowner. You have to clean your home or your apartment regularly, and it’s important that you have the right supplies.
At the same time, people often throw their excess supplies out if they don’t use them up by the end of their lease. Either that or they find that they bought the wrong product or didn’t need the cleaners they thought they did.
In these cases, it’s important that you take cleaning supplies and household chemicals to a hazardous waste facility. These materials should not be thrown in the garbage or recycling. Household chemicals, in bulk, can have very negative consequences on the land and any water table that they enter.
Batteries are another commonly discarded item. Knowing how to dispose of batteries is very important, seeing as we all go through so many of them in our lifetimes.
Whether you’re using AAA batteries or you have to get a new car battery, discarding of them improperly could have hazardous consequences on the environment.
Check for your town’s battery drop-off site the next time you have to get ready of batteries of any kind.
Prescription drugs, when unused, often just sit in the bathroom cabinet or get tossed down the drain. It’s crucial that you get rid of these drugs in case children or animals get ahold of them and consume them.
At the same time, it’s highly recommended that you bring them to a proper disposal area. Flushing them down the toilet can lead to disturbances in aquatic life as well as contamination of the water table.
Contact your doctor or search online for the proper place to dispose of your medication.
Things like needles, syringes, and knives should never be thrown away either. This is especially true if they have potentially contagious bacteria on them.
While it seems far-fetched, there is a real possibility that someone could go through your trash and contract a disease. Additionally, they could get cut or stabbed by such sharp objects.
Whether it’s someone working at the waste management facility or a person going through your trash, you don’t want anyone to get a disease from one of your old medical needles or sharps.
These can be placed in “sharps disposal containers” if you live close to one. If you’re not sure, you can contact your waste management company or the physician who prescribes your medical equipment.
Other Hazardous Materials
People use hazardous materials all of the time. Things like pesticides and asbestos are commonly thrown in the trash, leading to the destruction of soil and contamination of the water table.
You must contact waste management to make arrangements for these materials. Failing to do so is illegal, so taking precautions is certainly worth it.
Throwing Away Electronics
Electronics are one of the most commonly misunderstood items when it comes to disposal. Just because these items are composed of materials that can often be recycled, you shouldn’t put them in the trash can.
Televisions contain a number of toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, and more. The safest way to dispose of these is to take them to a recycling center.
The same goes for computers and monitors. A lot of the same hazardous materials are contained in these devices as well. You can typically take your computer parts to the same recycling center as your television.
Additionally, throwing away your computer puts you at risk of having your information stolen if your hard drive is still connected.
Cell phones are another device that can’t be thrown away or recycled. Check with your provider to see if sending in your old phone can get you a discount on a new one.
A lot of the precious metals and components of phones can be reused and recycled. This is excellent because those same materials can be hazardous when left in landfills. Additionally, recycling your phone parts prevents companies from mining to obtain more.
Appliances don’t often fall into the same category as electronics, although many of them still contain toxic chemicals that are exposed when they break down.
Microwaves, for example, have a capacitator that has a potentially hazardous electrical charge. Refrigerators contain a refrigerant that shouldn’t be left in a landfill.
Microwaves can be taken to your local recycling center, while you can wait to dispose of refrigerators when your waste management company has a “large items” day.
Want to Learn More?
Understanding the process of throwing away electronics and hazardous materials is extremely important. This is especially true as concerns about climate and waste come to the forefront of the news and national health.
Explore our site to learn more about how to improve the health of you, the environment, and your community.